I’ve been cooking oven baked french fries for ages. My first experience cooking crispy baked french fries came about during my days following Weight Watchers. I found them to be a great tasting replacement to homemade fried french fries and have been making them this way ever since. To be honest, they taste so great and are definitely less messy to make than the fried version at home.
The biggest downside to oven baked fries is that they take time to prepare but in my opinion they are well worth it each and every time.
The process for perfect oven baked french fries
Making perfect crispy oven baked fries isn’t really that hard but over the years I’ve realized that following a few steps ensure great results each and every time.
Whether you decide to peel your potatoes or leave it on isn’t going to really change the crispiness of your oven baked fries, I think it’s just a matter of personal preference. I like to leave the skin on for the nutrients found there as well as to eliminate one step in making my own oven baked french fries.
But what does matter is the thickness you cut your potatoes. I like to first cut the potato in half lengthwise (below, left). Then place the cut side flat on the cutting board to make the slices (below, right). This simply makes the cutting process safer and easier to perform. After cutting the potato into .25 inch slices, I cut them into similar sized strips.
My original recipe when I first started making these bad boys called to soak them in sugar-salt water for 20 minutes. According to the recipe I followed, this process serves to draw out some of the starch in the potatoes so they result in crispy baked french fries. Over the years, I’ve dropped the sugar and simply use the salt water to soak my fries. I’m not sure what truly happens during the soaking process, but my oven baked fries are always super crispy and so I’ve been doing it that way ever since.
Since you are soaking the potatoes in water, it’s important to dry the potatoes really well before tossing them in oil and baking them in the oven. I like to drain them in a colander first and then pat them dry with a clean dish towel. If you plan to put them back in the soaking bowl to toss with the oil, make sure you definitely dry out the bowl before transferring the fries back to it.
Flavoring and ingredients
The key to choosing a salt for your oven baked fries is to choose a coarse salt that is somewhat flaky in texture such as kosher salt or sea salt flakes. It adds a little bit of extra crunch to the fries.
Then I also use a coarse ground black pepper and a variety of herbs. My two favorite combinations are herbes de provence or fresh rosemary and thyme. For this recipe I am using the herbes de provence but you can easily substitute any herb or combination.
When choosing potatoes to cook crispy oven baked french fries you wan to chose a solid, dry potato that won’t absorb the oil and become soggy. My top choice in the US for oven baked french fries is to use Idaho potatoes. It works great.
Last, use an oil for coating your cut french fries that doesn’t have a lot of flavor such as canola oil, so the potato and herbs really shine through. Plus from a healthy standpoint, canola oil is a good choice.
Baking at high temperature
Baking the fries is another crucial step in the process. Here are my tips to make sure you get crispy oven baked fries.
- Use a high temperature setting and preheat the oven before placing the tray of fries inside.
- Make sure the fries are in a single, flat layer on the baking tray with space in between the fries. Don’t crowd them, they need space around them while cooking. If they are overcrowded on the tray they are more likely to steam cook rather than bake and may result in soggy fries.
- Flip the potatoes during the cooking process so they have the chance to brown on more than one side.
Crispy oven baked french fries with trio of sauces
- 2 pounds of white Idaho potatoes
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 1 tsp herbes de provence
- 1 T canola oil
- ¼ cup mayo
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- ¼ tsp honey
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ¼ tsp Sriracha or more if desired
Cilantro lime mayo
- ¼ cup mayo
- 1 tsp fresh lime juice
- 1 T cilantro
- Scrub the outside of the potatoes well with a scrub brush and water. Cut tatoes into ¼” slices and then slice each of those into ¼“ wide pieces. Place potatoes into a bowl and cover with lightly salted water. Allow potatoes to sit for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F about 10 minutes before you are ready to cook.
- After time has elapsed, drain the water off the potatoes and pat the potatoes dry. Add the herbes de provence, salt, pepper and canola oil to the potatoes and toss to coat the potatoes.
- Spray a baking sheet with baking spray and layout the fries into one layer. Place into a hot oven and cook 30-40 minutes or until done and crispy. It’s important to check the potatoes frequently, moving the potatoes around so that all the sides get browned.
- While the potatoes are cooking. Mix together the ingredients for each of the different sauces and stir well to combine.
- When potatoes are ready, serve with the dipping sauces.
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Serving your sauces
I love little bowls and one of my recent purchases was the set of six multi-colored stoneware bowls.
I never get tired of using them. They make a small bowl for sauces but I also find myself using them for my mise en place when I’m cooking for ingredients that in small amounts such as garlic or ginger.
They are inexpensive to buy but have lots of different functions and uses making them a worthwhile purchase.
Did you make this recipe? What did you think? Please leave me a comment here on the blog telling me about your cooking experience. Or you can send me a message using the chat function in the bottom right corner of the screen. I personally answer messages and comments. Tag @cookeaatlivelove in your photos so I can see your cooking creations.